Lead acid batteries tend to be heavy - a 18 A/H batterty can weigh over 3.5kg. My new Shorai Lithium Ion batteryweighs just over 0.5kg, will hold its charge for a year without maintenance and can be recharged in approximately 10 minutes. The manufacturer claims it will have twice the service life of a lead acid battery too. I used one riding to Vietnam and it was a caser of fit and forget... what they call a no-brainer! Mine was supplied by UK importers and classic motorcycle specialists Carrot Cycles.
Contact Tel: (+44) 01522 595975
Iwis chainsare made in Germany from high quality, quenched, tempered and case-hardened steels. They are pre-stretched with shouldered pins and have a high fatigue strength and superior wear resistance. I'm using an Iwis Megalife chain. This chain has a silver coloured coating that ensures it will not rust and special bushes which are sintered. Mine was supplied by motorcycle chain experts, John and Jane of Sprockets Unlimited who really know their stuff.
Contact Tel: (+44) 01386 831341
I'm using Mitas E03tyres on the European leg of the journey andEO7 front with an E09 rear on the African stage. E07 enduro tyres have an excellent reputation for both on and off road use. This is the front tyre that took me all the way to Vietnam with tread to spare. The E09 is a great choice when the going gets tough but is still road legal and has a reputation for giving high mileage. All are supplied by Tyre-Finder. Their website needs updating but the friendly service and advice given by owner, Mick, is excellent. Contact Tel: (+44) 07796 188283
Old British thumpers are renowned for vibrating and my hands certainly can ache after a full day’s ride. I used a set of Original Grip Buddies on the way to Vietnam which made a huge difference. As well as reducing vibration, they fill your hand far more than standard skinny rubber handlebar grips, resulting in surprisingly increased levels of comfort. There's a pair now on my 500 Twin.
I've used a manually operated Tutoro chain oiler in the past and found it excellent at extending chain life. Tutoro have now developed a very clever automatic chain oiler. It's supplied with a range of fitting accessories and is simple to install. The oiler automatically deposits just the right amount of oil onto the chain and has an adjustable flow rate to account for differing riding conditions. It's also leakproof when the bike is stationary. Conact Tel: 01594 841097
My Royal Enfield was built in the days of leaded petrol. I haven't had the vallve seat replaced with hardened seats, so need protection from valve seat recession. The Spitfire Fuel Catalyst does this, lubricating the valve seats like lead used to. It also lowers the burn temperature and raises the octane level, which will be useful in Africa!
Conact Tel: (+44) 01403 741252
My previous overland journeys have taught me to value a good air filter. Sandy and dusty road conditions en route to Egypt and Vietnam were superbly dealt with by Ramair pod filters. They have a unique multilayered Aeriform material that ensures maximum filtration. They come pre-oiled & ready to fit and can be washed and reused many times over. They have custom made shallow filters to fit inside the Royal Enfielkd 500 Twin air box.
Contact Tel: (+44) 01980 623401
I fit a pair of Pivot Pegz for long distance riding comfort and off-road grip. They are wider than standard footpegs and crucially pivot backwards and forwards when riding standing up, allowing the rider to more easily adjust his weight according to the terrain. They are available for a wide selection of motorcycles but sadly not Royal Enfields. Friend Derek Thom welded these to the Twins original footrests.
The ride to South Africa will start way north of the Arctic Circle. To keep my hands warm, I’ve fit a pair of Oxford Heated Grips. They too around half an hour to mount and wire in and warm up very quickly. 9 heat settings also ensure you don’t overheat your hands.
With so many electrically powered accessories on the bike, I decided to fit a battery isolation switch made by Durite. I simply wired it between the battery and earth. With one turn of the knob I can completely turn off all electrics and the ignition... peace of mind!
To finish the bike off, British Inn Signs handpainted the front numberplate and flyscreen bracket. It’s a work of art, real craftmanship that’s admired by everyone that sees it. The artist, Carl, is very helpful and does a quick turnaround.
Conact Tel: (+44) 07717 063689
Carrot Cycles are a UK web-based business specialising in quality classic motorcycle consumables. They supplied two new 1/8 Gas traditional push/pull fuel taps, a pair of fuel filters and a metre of ethanol resistant fuel hose to suit. Contact Tel: (+44) 01522 595975